My guest today is a novelist who goes under her own name, Elizabeth M Hurst, and pseudonym, Kitty Mulholland. Liz has come along today to talk about her creative life since moving to France. Without further ado, lets go over to Liz.
Living a Creative Life
Many people have asked me why I moved to the south of France, and there are many reasons. For some time, I had been envisaging a life abroad, somewhere warm and sunny with a simpler life and less stress. Then, I spent some time in Aude, at the Wild Words retreat with Bridget Holding, in 2016. I fell in love with the Languedoc region, and my dream began to take shape.
Allowing myself space and time to be creative, whether it’s writing or painting, brings me so much joy and happiness. A stressful job, however, does the exact opposite, and I was feeling run down. By early 2018 I was receiving medical treatment for anxiety-related issues. Something had to change.
So, in January 2019 I packed up my car, along with my two cats, and we spent a tortuous two-day journey down to Pyrénées-Orientales in the far south of France, on the Mediterranean coast.
My days here consists of an early start, a couple of hours of freelance editing and proofreading before brunch, then a leisurely walk into the village centre for a natter with the locals. Improving my French language skills was another reason for moving here, and I am pleased to report that not all of my ‘A’ level studies have been forgotten!
Afternoons are all about writing. By now, the sunshine has moved around to the front of the house, and on a sunny day (on average about 330 times per year), it is now rather warm. Even in December, if you’re in the sunshine, a t-shirt is adequate. So, I can sit on my balcony with my notebook and get some serious scribbling done.
In the hot summer months, this time would be spent at the beach, swimming to keep cool and the scribbling in my notebook while drying off in the sunshine. But, the water is a little cooler now (read: freezing!) so when I have finished writing, it’s a walk up into the nearby Albères mountains, collecting pinecones. Top tip: they make excellent firelighters!
I am very lucky to be able to live what many would describe as an idyllic lifestyle. However, it’s not all easy. Take the weather, for instance. Late June brought le canicule (heatwave). This little corner was not the hottest area of France by any stretch, but 34 degrees Celcius at midnight makes for uncomfortable sleeping, let me tell you, even after copious amounts of wine. Trust me, I tested it!
Then, in October, we had the most ferocious storm I have ever witnessed. Storm-force winds and a colossal amount of rainfall flooded many villages in this area. At the beach, sea-facing houses were boarded up and people took shelter. At 2am on the night it arrived, I thought the roof was coming off the house! It turned out it was the most rain the area has experienced for fifty years.
I am about to celebrate my first French festive season. There seems to be a lot less fuss in the shops than I’m used to, but then France is a much less shopping-oriented country as a whole, so that’s not a big surprise.
Allow me, therefore, to raise a glass of wine to you all and wish you the best of seasons greetings, while I make sure I’ve got my sunscreen handy. Merry Christmas!
Thank you, Liz for a great article. So interesting to hear about your creative journey in France and I wish you every happiness and success in your future both creatively and personally.
Let’s find out a little about Liz Hurst.
Liz is originally from West Cumbria, in the northwest of England, UK. Following university in Birmingham, she worked in various jobs across industries such as recruitment, food production, pet-sitting, pharmaceuticals, and automotive engineering.
Her writing life began with erotic fiction and she has titles published under the pseudonym of Kitty Mulholland. She now writes timeslip novellas and historical fiction about strong female protagonists under the umbrella brand of Sisterhood Publications.
You can purchase Liz’s books by clicking on the following links.
You can find Liz at the following online locations